Ecole Margaret Jenkins elementary students Corbin Timothy

Ecole Margaret Jenkins elementary students Corbin Timothy

Margaret Jenkins elementary celebrates a century this week in Victoria

Group of 60 Margaret Jenkins students create a bilingual graphic novella on Jenkin's life and influence on Victoria

Nearly two dozen relatives of Margaret Jenkins will descend upon her namesake school this week to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

“We have 23 relatives of Margaret Jenkins visiting from six different U.S. states, and some of them have never met one another,” said Hazel Currie, volunteer with the centennial celebrations committee at École Margaret Jenkins school.

Born in Wales in 1843, Jenkins spent her early years in Chile before moving to Victoria with her second husband in 1882. Jenkins became a tireless advocate of better schooling during her 17 years as a trustee, and became the first woman to have a building named after her in Victoria with the opening of École Margaret Jenkins elementary in 1914.

“If I had my life to live over again,” she said in a 1921 interview, “I would not change my estimate of the value of the child and the child’s welfare. … The child is the citizen of the future and no asset is so valuable to Canadian life as the potential adult which is to be the nation of the future.”

Community celebration

On June 6, École Margaret Jenkins elementary is inviting the community to celebrate their 100th anniversary on school grounds from 5 to 8 p.m.

The party includes a bouncy castle, outdoor games, a pirate school run by the Maritime Museum of B.C., face-painting and even a bike rodeo.

Through a 50/50 draw, the school is raising funds for a “naturalized playground” for future students, said organizer Shari Roubini, a parent advisory committee executive at the school.

“It’s something different than the traditional playground, where we have logs, sand, and even an amphitheatre so we can have outdoor classes for kids,” she said.

An afternoon tea and look back at Jenkins’ history – open to all alumni – takes place Friday from noon to 3 p.m.

Students celebrate Jenkins with bilingual comic book

Six years ago, students at École Margaret Jenkins Elementary began a project that combines research, art, language and conflict resolution skills. It’s the kind of project that adults often dream about, and one that, after a much hard work and patience, yields joy and magic for both teacher and student alike.

They’re publishing books – comic books – with the latest iteration chronicling the life of Margaret Jenkins in the lead-up to the school’s centennial celebration this week.

“It gives (students) such a rich understanding of the nature of story, by delving right into how you create it,” said Steven Toleikis, Grade 4/5 teacher, who has guided his students through the creation of five books under the direction of local artist Susan Abrill.

“This extra tool, visualization, really clicks for kids. Kids really respond well to metaphors. And visualizing a story helps to give them what they need to make their imaginations soar.”

This spring, Toleikis’ English stream class combined forces with the French Immersion students of Laurie Cairns’ Grade 4/5 class to create a bilingual graphic novella featuring Margaret Jenkins.

Books have varied wildly in content – from an adaptation of Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn, to musings on technological advances and future possibilities – while the creation process has remained a constant. Students research stories, illustrate cells, develop dialogue and ink their pages before they’re sent to Island Blue for publication and eventually wind up on classroom and library shelves.

(Below: Margaret Jenkins in 1913. Story continues below photo)

For the current project, beginning with Jenkins’ birth in Wales in 1840, this translated to much time invested in researching the time period.

“It’s not a historical document that they’re creating, but rather than put them in short dresses and bobbed hair, you’ve got to put them in ringlets and a long dress,” Toleikis said.

“You can imagine the richer sense of history they’re getting by approaching it like that, rather than just reading a story about Margaret Jenkins.”

Abrill, also an English teacher in the language centre at the University of Victoria, sees her role as coach, someone to offer drawing guidance and ensure holes in logic are sewn up.

And when it comes time for the kids to see their work in print – Abrill describes it as amazing.

“It gives you chills. The whole room is silent, crowded around each other, looking for their copies. The first book we made, I was so wrapped up in getting the thing done, that I was about to miss the most magical moment. (Toleikis) said: ‘Wait, watch this.’ He just got me to settle down and watch. … For a kid, even seeing their name printed inside a book is amazing.”

The novella is set to be released this Friday during the official celebration of the school’s centennial. And if all goes to plan, there will be a seventh iteration of the project next year.

“Comics have come along way from 50 years ago, from being banned, to now, when they’re really making their way back into the curriculum,” Abrill said.

“I don’t know of anyone else who’s doing this work in Canada.”

arts@mondaymag.com

 

 

Just Posted

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read